No experiments! That was something Julian Nagelsmann put a lot of emphasis on on Monday evening. The national coach obviously wanted to use the press conference ahead of the last international match of the year this Tuesday (20:45 CET in the F.A.Z. live ticker for DFB international matches and on ZDF) in Vienna against Austria to clarify a few things on his own behalf.
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And that included defending himself against the interpretation that he had departed from the pragmatic line he had proclaimed when he took office in September. "We have an idea that we'll leave almost the same," he said, stressing that there had been no structural change from the two games against the USA and Mexico.
It is "not a big experiment" to use another player in one position, "our orders remain pragmatically the same". This was mainly related to the discussion that had erupted around the use of Kai Havertz on the left side of defence; Nagelsmann said once again that Havertz had played a very good game, also defensively, and he didn't understand how anyone could see it any other way. He hadn't read much, "thank God only one article, but that was enough."
"We want to win, that would be quite good!"
Whether Havertz will play in the same role against Austria, the national coach left open; he wanted to wait for the impressions of the final training session and the state of fitness. He likes to have Havertz on the pitch with his qualities, "but it may also be that we see a different player."
The same was true for the other position that became the subject of discussion after the 2-3 defeat to Turkey, the occupation in the centre of midfield. Ilkay Gündogan and Joshua Kimmich had once again not harmonised well there, and the question on Monday evening was whether, given the strengths of the Austrians coached by Ralf Rangnick, a clear-headed, defensive-minded player would perhaps make sense there. "Of course, we're thinking about it a lot," said Nagelsmann, but Nagelsmann didn't want to answer what that could mean in concrete terms until after the final training session. "I have a very precise eye on that."
Overall, Nagelsmann gave a tighter-lipped impression than during the trip to the USA in October. "I think we'd all do well to put the public out of our minds for now," he said. "It's about being convinced of the path we're taking and making the Games positive." He had said in his opening sentence that a win would be helpful, especially in view of the four-month break until the next international matches. "We want to win, that would be quite good!"
In the search for the necessary ingredients, the aspects of defensive stability and emotionality that were missing on Saturday were once again discussed. As far as the former was concerned, the national coach once again warned not to "want too much too quickly" in order not to be embarrassed by the situation, even if he hinted that a lot of favorable things came together with the Turkish goals, while his team had actually had an advantage in terms of quality of chances and the value of the "expected goals".
As far as emotionality is concerned, he spoke of the "self-regulating of the team", he had taken up corresponding voices from the team with his statements in Berlin and is now counting on "having as many players as possible on the pitch who are willing to take responsibility without it distracting from the actual task".
In general, Nagelsmann did not want to give too much space to the negative tenor of the past few days. He preferred to talk about the approach to a positive spin. "We have to work for this flow, not get into the role of victim," he said, "then the tide will turn again."